In the aftermath of a disastrous event, our new program partner, BizCover (Australia’s small business insurance specialists), understands how important it is to get your business back up and running as quickly as possible.
Follow these simple tips from BizCover to help make the claims process as stress-free and time-efficient as possible.
There are a few things you can do upfront to be prepared and make the whole claims process a bit easier, while also helping you ensure you have the right cover for your business.
If you find the thought of sitting down to read your insurance policy’s ‘Policy Wording’ or ‘Product Disclosure Statement’ (aka PDS) from beginning to end daunting, don’t worry, you’re not alone! At times it can seem difficult to follow, but it doesn’t need to be complicated. If you are unsure what your policy covers you for, jump on the phone to your insurance agent or provider. Having a chat to a real-life consultant will help to explain all the important things about your cover that you need to know, without the jargon. Understanding what you are covered for and reviewing your policy is something which everyone should do regularly to ensure come claim time – you have the right cover.
If you are not covered for events that may impact your business, talk to your provider about extending your cover or purchasing additional policies. While you will not typically be able to buy insurance to cover an incident that has already occurred, having the right insurance protection moving forward should give peace of mind.
In the event of a claim, particularly concerning physical property such as stock, machinery or other equipment, you may need to provide proof of ownership. Keep your receipts and other ownership records in a central place, so that these can be accessed when required.
Some important things to check are:
What events does your policy cover you for?
What are the exclusions?
How much is your excess?
How much are you covered for?
Are there any sub-limits?
Do any waiting periods apply?
It’s a good idea to have a backup of these stored electronically in case you need to access the originals. And where possible, record the serial numbers for important items and keep photographs of them. If you require emergency repairs (e.g. plumbers, electricians) before you lodge your claim, make sure you keep a copy of these receipts too.
Something that small business owners often forget is the full financial impact if an incident like a fire or storm was to destroy their business premises. You are not only going to need enough money to rebuild your business, but chances are you are going to be out of business for some time while repairs take place, and this may also hit you where it hurts most - the hip pocket.
One thing that you will really want to keep in mind, is whether you have enough cover to rebuild your business back to where it was. If you are underinsured, your insurer may not pay out your full claim, which could leave you shorthanded. Say for instance, your stock and contents are valued at $100k and you only have them insured for $50k. A fire sweeps through a store room destroying stock valued at $40k. Your insurer may only pay you out $20k – as you were underinsured by 50%. This could have a huge impact on your business getting back on its feet.
Also consider the other financial impacts that an event may have on your business like:
Your turnover - while your business doors are closed, your stream of income could be limited or even non existent. Would you be able to function as a business financially and pay wages, rent and other expenses?
Relocation – if your premises needs to be repaired, could you afford to relocate and pay rent and the running cost of your business at another location?
This is where Business Interruption insurance comes in handy, providing peace of mind when you need it most. You can find out more about Business Interruption insurance here.
When you find yourself in the unfortunate situation of needing to make a claim, you should contact your insurance agency to report the incident as soon as reasonably possible. You may be feeling a bit overwhelmed during this time, so to make things a bit easier, write down the key facts about the incident. This will help to make the information you provide more accurate and easier to explain to your insurer.
Things to jot down whilst the details are fresh in your mind:
The time and date the incident occurred
Where the incident happened
What happened? The more details the better
Details of any people or assets that were affected
Anything you may have done to try and minimise the loss
If there were any witnesses, ask for their account of the details of the event and write it down (or have them do so)
It is also a good idea to take photos of the damage where you can.
The claims process will inevitably require some forms to be completed which will involve recording facts and details about the incident and possibly a police statement. However, if you follow the steps above you will already have a good account of the details that are required.
As mentioned earlier, it is important to keep copies of documentation, receipts etc to help speed up the claims process, by providing these documents quickly, you can minimise the chance of delays from the insurer.
Once your claim has been approved and its back to business as usual, take the time to review your policy. Going through a claims experience will give you a great insight into what you are covered for, the limits of your policy, excesses and waiting periods. Take the time to reflect and ensure that your policy is covering you for the right things and that you have enough cover in place should another incident occur.
Being prepared is key to a stress-free claims experience! Remember these key takeaways to ensure any claim you have is as hassle free as possible.
Read your Policy wording/PDS: we have said it before, but it is important to understand the key things that you are covered for, what your excess is, your limits and any waiting periods that apply
Pay on time: ensure the cost of your policy is paid up to date. If your policy is not paid for there is a chance it may be cancelled, and you may not be covered!
Check the details: make sure all the details on your policy are accurate and up to date, especially your contact details and business address. If you have coverage for contents it is a good time to make sure you have enough coverage and that you have included new and valuable items on your policy which you may have purchased since initially taking out your policy.
Store your contacts close: a burst water pipe doesn't only happen during business hours! If something was to happen, keeping emergency contacts in a handy place for easy access can help reduce the impact of the event from causing further damage. Some of the contacts you may want to consider keeping close by include: electrician, plumber, utility providers, accountant, IT services
Keep a record: taking photos of your contents and business equipment and keeping receipts and other ownership records will assist when it comes to claim time. If you can, store these images on a secured cloud-based program which can be accessed off-site.
Up-to-date financials: keeping an up-to-date account of your business’ financial records is essential. If you need to make a claim for loss of trade through your Business Interruption cover, you will need to provide accurate financial records demonstrating how much your business is earning.
If you want to know more about the insurance options and the claims experience that BizCover can offer, find out more on the BizCover website here.
Now, Qantas Business Rewards members who purchase a new business insurance policy through BizCover, can earn 1 Qantas Point per $1 spent, and if you purchase before 2020 you could earn double points*.
Find out how your business can earn and enjoy rewards as a Business Rewards member.
The information provided is general only and should not be relied upon as advice. As with any insurance, cover will be subject to the terms, conditions and exclusions contained in the policy wording. BizCover™ Pty Ltd (ABN 68 127 707 975; AFSL 501769). © 2019 BizCover
* A business must be a Qantas Business Rewards Member to earn Qantas Points for their business. A one-off join fee of $89.50 including GST normally applies, however this will be waived for BizCover customers. Membership and Qantas Points are subject to Qantas Business Rewards Terms and Conditions. BizCover customers will earn 1 Qantas Point for every $1 spent on all new business insurance policies, up to a maximum of 10,000 points per policy. Qantas Points for business are offered under the BizCover Terms and Conditions. Any claims in relation to Qantas Points under this offer must be made directly to BizCover. Qantas Points will be credited to the Members’ Business Rewards account within 100 days of purchase. A customer is only eligible to receive points if they have purchased directly through BizCover (not through a referral or white label partner) and not used any discount or promotional code in making the purchase. Qantas Business Rewards members will earn 2 Qantas Points per $1 when they purchase a new business insurance policy before 31 December 2019. Qantas Points will be credited to the members’ Business Rewards account within 100 days of purchase. Any claims in relation to Qantas Points under this offer must be made directly to BizCover.